Category Archives: Other

Catching Crabs with a Chicken Leg?

Dungeness crabs (ODFW photo)

Dungeness crabs (ODFW photo)

Question: California regulations stipulate that taking crustaceans by “hook and line” is not a legal method of take. So what about a baited line with no hook (e.g. a chicken leg) with a hand line tied to it? As long as I use my hands to take the crab and not a net, is a baited line allowed to lure the crab within reach? (Patrick M.)

Answer: Ocean sport fishing regulations specify what gear may be used to take saltwater crustaceans, and any “nets, traps or other appliances” not specified in the following section are prohibited methods of take (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.80(a)(2)). A baited line without a hook is not a legal method of take, but here’s an idea … you could tie a chicken leg to a loop trap, or make the chicken leg into a loop trap by attaching up to six loops (slip knots) to the bait, and snare a crab this way. This method of a line attached to a chicken leg would be legal to use! Loop traps may not be used south of Point Arguello (CCR Title 14, section 29.80(e)).


Looking for sustainable and ethical wild game for restaurant
Question: I am a chef and we will open a new, very small, specialized Japanese restaurant in Los Angeles. I am looking for sustainable and ethical wild game. Could you please help me find a hunter that deals with restaurants like ours? (Ni L.)

Answer: It is illegal for anyone to buy, sell or trade any sport-taken wild game meat in California. There are businesses that import “exotic” meats, and they are inspected and regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to the USDA, “Game meats that do not have a mark of inspection cannot be sold. This is the case for game meat harvested by a recreational hunter. The inspection and processing requirements will not be met and thus the meat cannot be sold.”


Lifetime licenses for a 3-year-old
Question: I just purchased a lifetime fishing license for my 3-year-old son and would like to purchase his lifetime hunting license as well. Do I have to wait until he is old enough to take and pass his hunters safety class first? (Anxious dad)

Answer: Great question! You will be able to purchase the lifetime hunting license now to lock in the price but he will not be able to use it until he completes his hunter safety class. Once you buy the license, our License and Revenue Branch will send you confirmation of your purchase. After your son takes the class (usually at nine years or older) and gives us the certificate showing that he has passed his test, like magic, his profile will show that he has an active lifetime hunting license and he will be able to use it.

Likewise, his lifetime fishing license may not show up in his profile until he turns 16 (when he will need to have a fishing license to fish). If you bought one of the add-on packages that include fishing report cards, he will have access to those before his 16th birthday because the report cards are necessary for anglers of all ages.

Good luck and I hope you have many happy years of hunting and fishing with your son!


Catching bait from the piers and bays
Question: What are the legal methods allowed for catching live bait? I have used sabiki type rigs when fishing for mackerels and sardines, but recently I’ve started fishing the bays. Is it legal to use homemade minnow traps in the bays (e.g. Mission Bay and San Diego Bay) to catch smelts to use for bait, or can I only use those bait nets available at local sport fishing retailers for catching bait fish? I am hoping to catch baits south of Point Conception. (Charles P.)

Answer: Baited traps are not authorized for the take of bait fish south of Point Conception. The only authorized methods of take for bait fish are using dip nets, baited hoop nets not greater than 36 inches in diameter, by hook and line or by hand. “Dip nets of any size and baited hoop nets not greater than 36 inches in diameter may be used to take herring, Pacific staghorn sculpin, shiner surfperch, surf smelt, topsmelt, anchovies, shrimp and squid. Hawaiian-type throw nets may be used north of Point Conception to take such species” (CCR Title 14, section 28.80). When taking other species of bait fish, your hand-held dip net must be not more than six feet in greatest diameter, excluding the handle (CCR Title 14, section 1.42).

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Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.

Learning to Hunt at any Age

Used by permission of Kalkomey Enterprises

You can learn to hunt at any age and the best place to start is with a hunter education course through CDFW (Photo courtesy of Kalkomey Enterprises)

Question: Most hunters that I know learned in their youth. I am an adult male who has never hunted but would like to learn. Are there classes or programs for adult males to learn? If so, can you please give me some information as to how an old guy like me can get started hunting? (Edward H.)

Answer: Yes, and an excellent first step is to take a hunter education course. This course is required to get a hunting license in California and provides good entry level instruction about firearms safety, first aid, wildlife management, etc. For more information and to find an upcoming class in your area, please go to: http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunter-Education.

After you’ve taken the entry level hunter education class, you might consider taking some of the Advanced Hunter Education classes offered by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) throughout the state. These include wild pig seminars, waterfowl seminars, wild turkey seminars, etc. and can be found on the CDFW website at http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunter-Education/Advanced.

I also encourage you to check around for local sportsmen’s clubs in your area. Most communities have them and many are associated with a gun range. This would be another location to learn a great deal about firearms and to discuss hunting with experienced people.

And finally, there are lots of books and magazines available that provide many resources about hunting, and the Internet is also full of information that may help (e.g. http://www.nssf.com/hunting/getstarted/). Just remember, you’re never too old to learn how to hunt and there are lots of resources available to help you. Good luck!


When is the best time to go clamming?
Question: When is the best season to enjoy clamming? (Julie S.)

Answer: There really is no best season for clamming. Generally, any really low tide during daytime hours with minimal surf and decent weather is a good time. There are specific seasons for taking of Pismo clams and razor clams in specific areas, so please check the regulations before venturing out for these clams.

The hours of take for clams are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. No instruments capable of taking clams (shovels, hoes, rakes, etc.) may be possessed on the beach during closed hours. It may be safer to go clamming from November through April, as biotoxins may be concentrated in filter-feeding bivalves (such as mussels and clams) from May through October especially. For more information about biotoxins, please visit the California Department of Public Health website at http://www.cdph.ca.gov/healthinfo/environhealth/water/pages/shellfish.aspx.


Collection of antler sheds and winter kill skulls?
Question: Is it legal to keep deer and elk antler sheds? How about deer, elk and big horn sheep skulls from winter kills? I have seen people collecting them but I wasn’t sure if it was ok to do. (Pamela Sue)

Answer: You cannot collect big horn sheep skulls or horns at any time. The other antler sheds may not be removed from wildlife refuges or from public parks and forests. You can pick up deer and elk sheds from public lands and private property you have permission to be on and deer and elk antlers may be legally collected and sold (Fish and Game Code, section 3039). You should avoid picking up anything that is fresh but it is not illegal for someone to pick up bleached antlers. In addition, you can sell sheds that you have found but cannot sell whole antlers or antlers with heads attached (FGC, section 3039(c)).


How can a mobility impaired angler obtain a fishing license?
Question: I am disabled and confined to a wheelchair and am trying to obtain a general sport fishing license. The rules seem to require someone in my position to go to a license sales office, which would be difficult as I live in San Francisco. (Blaine J.)

Answer: You can complete the Free Sport Fishing License Application (which requires a physician’s signature) found online at http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing and return the form with a copy of your identification (DMV ID, passport or birth certificate) to any CDFW license sales office listed on the back of the form. The office will then enter your information into the system and mail you back a license. You also may renew your license at any CDFW license agent, CDFW license sales office or online.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.

Transporting Multiple Waterfowl Limits Legally

Snow geese (USFWS photo)

Question: I had a good waterfowl season and gave many ducks to friends who wanted to try duck. I also shared some duck jerky with them and they loved it!  Now they all want some jerky or sausage, too! I called the butcher and found out they require 25 lbs of meat to make a batch of sausage. I weighed my possession limit and it doesn’t come close enough to make the weight. How do I legally bring enough ducks to the processor without putting myself into an overlimit in possession situation? (Gino B.)

Answer: Most hunters are aware they cannot take or possess more than a daily bag of ducks in one calendar day, and they know they cannot possess more than a legal possession limit (double the daily bag limit) of ducks at any time… unless the birds are tagged.

In addition, all waterfowl must retain the head or one attached fully feathered wing between the place where taken and the hunter’s personal abode (where he/she lives when not hunting) or the personal abode of a person receiving the birds as a gift, or a Migratory Bird Preservation Facility.

According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Northern Enforcement District Chief Mike Carion, any person is allowed to have a possession limit of birds as long as they were taken legally by a licensed hunter. In addition, if you live at home with a significant other and three children (for example), you can possess five possession limits of waterfowl in that home.

When the possession is freshly killed birds in the field, the birds must be tagged. If the possession is at home, the birds do not need to be tagged.

Tags must contain the following information:

  • Name of hunter
  • Address of hunter
  • Date of take
  • Number and species of birds
  • Hunting license number
  • Signature of the hunter who took the birds

Now it gets tricky!

Once you take the birds to your personal abode (home), you no longer have to tag them, and you may remove the head and wings. However, you are still required to stay within possession limits.

So, now your question is what happens once you are home (or after you’ve delivered your birds to someone as a gift) and you decide to have the ducks made into sausage? How can you provide the processor the 25 pounds of meat required to make the sausage?

Remember, once you are no longer home and are now transporting the birds of someone else (gifted above), the birds must be tagged!

Therefore, the legal way for you to transport the required 25 pounds of duck meat (by combining your birds with the birds belonging to other people) to the local meat processor is to make sure all birds are tagged as mentioned above. When turning the tagged birds over to the meat processor, you must also provide him a list of names of the people each possession limit belongs to.


How many hooks for sand dabs and how many for halibut?
Question: How many hooks can be used when fishing for sand dabs? I was planning on using a Sabiki rig. How many hooks can I have on such a rig? Also, how many hooks can I have on my line while fishing for halibut? Is there a limit to the number in either of these situations? (Chris Jones)

Answer:  There are no hook restrictions unless rockfish or salmon are onboard. If either species is onboard, then only two hooks may be used.


Hunting with an electronic distress caller?
Question: Is it legal to use an electronic distress caller to hunt deer? I can’t seem to find it in the regulations. (Louie L.)

Answer: It is not legal to use recorded or electrically amplified bird or mammal calls or sounds or recorded or electrically amplified imitations of bird or mammal calls or sounds to take any animal except coyotes, bobcats, American crows and starlings (Fish and Game Code, section 3012 and CCR Title 14, section 475(b), or the California Mammal Hunting Regulations at http://dfg.ca.gov/regulations/).

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Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.

Slingshot Hunting

Slingshots may only be used to take nongame birds and mammals, and jack rabbits are not included in that list (USFWS photo).

Question: I have been searching for any regulations specifically regarding slingshots but have found no clear reference to them within the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) hunting regulations. As written, slingshots are not a legal method of take for any game. Yet there are inferences that under certain sections, such as Fish and Game Code, section 4186, that a slingshot would be considered a legal method of take. Further, varmints such as jackrabbit and ground squirrel do not fall under the regulations for fur-bearing mammals. I have not been able to find any source of reference on the DFG website or credible interpretation of the regulations by any warden or lawyer. Can you please provide clear references relating to the use of a slingshot for taking any game or non-game animals? (Ron Rios, Jr.)

Answer: Slingshots may only be used to take nongame birds and mammals (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 475). However, the only nongame birds that may be taken by any method are English house sparrows and starlings (FGC, sections 3800(a) and 3801). There is also a crow hunting season, but crows may only be taken by shotgun, falconry or archery (CCR Title 14, section 485). Common nongame mammals (“varmint” is not a term used in Fish and Game law) that may be taken include coyotes, bobcats, opossums, ground squirrels and orange-belly marmots. Take of bobcat requires possession of a bobcat tag (CCR Title 14, section 478.1).

Rabbits and tree squirrels are game mammals, and their take with a slingshot is illegal. Nongame mammals are those species not otherwise categorized in the law as resident small game (CCR Title 14, section 257), big game (CCR Title 14, section 350) or fur-bearing mammals (FGC, section 4000). The complete Fish and Game Code is available online at: http://dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/.


Keeping lobsters whole for the trip home?
Question: Is it true that spiny lobsters must be kept whole (and not tailed) until brought into our home and ready for immediate consumption? That’s what I just heard but I thought they just needed to stay whole until they could be brought ashore so that size can be determined. That’s what we’ve always done. Is it OK to tail them once ashore? (Jim A.)

Answer: No. Lobster must remain in a whole, measurable condition, until being prepared for immediate consumption (CCR Title 14, section 29.90(e)).


Who is authorized to take nongame animals causing property damage?
Question: In one of your recent columns, you stated that property owners or their tenants or agents do not need a hunting license to shoot nongame mammals that are doing crop damage on private property. What is the definition of an agent? We can get a license from a large local alfalfa ranch to shoot Belding ground squirrels. They will even give us .22 shells. Do we also need a California hunting license? My grandson is coming next month and he has no license. (Ken K.)

Answer: Nongame animals causing crop or property damage do not require a depredation permit to be taken by the landowners and/or the specific people they have designated to work on their behalf to eliminate the offending animals. On public land, or in situations where the take is not for depredation by a landowner or agent, a hunting license is required.

Special precautions should be taken to ensure that any animals causing property/crop damage are not endangered species. If someone shoots/kills an endangered species, they will have to have evidence of the property damage or face significant fines and penalties.

In order to be considered an “agent” of the landowner, you will need written documentation from the landowner stating you are taking the nongame mammals on his or her behalf for depredation purposes. This will serve as proof that you have permission to be on private land and will eliminate the need for a hunting license. If you are in condor country, be sure to use non-lead ammunition. For more information on requirements for non-lead ammunition, please go to http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/condor/ .


Can game wardens check my fishing license by my CDL?
Question: While buying my license recently, I was told by the vendor that we no longer need to carry our fishing licenses with us. He said game wardens can now scan people’s California driver licenses (CDL) to verify the purchase. Is this true? (Rick B.)

Answer: No, you are required to have your actual sport fishing license in possession while fishing (CCR Title 14, section 700) and to present your actual license upon request to any game warden who asks (FGC, section 2012). DFG game wardens do not carry CDL scanners.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.

Why Spiny Lobster Report Cards?

California Spiny Lobsters (DFG photo by Derek Stein)

Question: A friend of ours received a $290 fine for not filling in his lobster report card correctly last year. What is the purpose of the report cards? If the fine print is so important, why isn’t it listed first? (Joe B., Thousand Oaks)

Answer: While the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has records of commercial lobster harvest dating back to 1916, it wasn’t until 2008 and the introduction of the lobster report card that any kind of gauge on the size or scope of the recreational lobster fishery existed. According to DFG Marine Biologist Travis Buck, close to 30,000 lobster report cards have been sold to sport fisherman for each of the past three years. This in contrast to the landing receipts from only about 150 licensed, active commercial lobster fishermen. DFG biologists have estimated that the recreational catch equals close to half of the commercial catch, which is a significant amount of lobsters.

DFG is mandated by state law to manage the lobster resource, as well as other fish and game, and so biologists must gather as much information as possible from both the commercial and recreational lobster fisheries. When looking at a time series of catch data, Buck says it’s possible to see downward trends, which could signify if the sustainability of the resource is in jeopardy. If catch numbers remain stable year after year, the resource is considered sustainable and no further regulation is deemed necessary.

To learn more about the DFG Marine Region and the lobster report card program, please check out DFG’s website for California spiny lobster-related information, http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/research.asp.


Beagling for bunnies
Question: I am new to the sport of beagling and I was thinking about taking my dogs out rabbit hunting. I don’t carry a gun yet because I haven’t had the chance to practice shooting at low, moving targets. Therefore, I was wondering whether I really need a hunting license if I don’t actually shoot a rabbit? One of the legal methods listed in the regulations for the take of rabbits is with dogs, so are they the same as having a gun? (Anonymous, Greenville)

Answer: Dogs are a legal method of take and are considered an extension of the hunter. Since “take” is defined as “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill” you would be required to have a hunting license to use your dogs to pursue game.


Fishing a public waterway when posted “No Trespassing”
Question: While fishing on Hot Creek (Mono County), I came to a fenced-off section of the creek, posted with no trespassing signs. I have always been under the impression that once you legally access (don’t cross private property) a river, you may continue fishing the length of it. Am I wrong? (John K.)

Answer: According to California law, most water in above-ground, free-flowing waterways is state water and not considered private property. The land underneath the water, however, may or may not be held by the state. On small or ephemeral streams, for example, the land in the bed of the stream could be privately owned.

If you have legally gained access to the state’s water, such as at a boat ramp or on your own property, or another person who has granted you permission, you can most likely continue up or down the waterway in a boat without trespassing. But anytime you “touch” the bed or bank of the stream that is not owned by you, you may be trespassing.

If there is a fence across the stream, which is common on smaller streams in areas where livestock are common, you can not assume that it is legal to cross over it even if you can do so without touching the bank or bed of the stream. You should not attempt to do so until you have either gained the permission of the person who owns the property or received a determination that the land underneath the stream is owned by the state.


Muzzleloader unloaded
Question: I plan on hunting a lot this year with a recently acquired muzzleloader and need to know the official regs for a “loaded and unloaded” gun. I’ve been told that as long as no cap is in place, the gun is considered unloaded since the cap is needed to charge/fire the gun. (Wendell W., San Jose)

Answer: You are correct. As long as the cap is removed so the gun will not fire, it is considered unloaded.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.

Why Do Fawns Have Growths on their Necks and Chins?

A healthy mule deer fawn (Photo courtesy of UDWR)

Question: Many of the fawns I am currently seeing here in Santa Barbara County appear to have growths or swelling on their necks or chin about the size of a baseball. I’ve seen this over the last several years. What’s up? (Larry F., Solvang)

Answer: According to DFG Veterinarian Dr. Ben Gonzales, deer can have multiple lumps due to cutaneous tumors (aka papillomatosis or fibromas) which are thought to be induced by viruses.

The location you describe of these lumps makes him think they are more likely jaw abscesses which can develop from a broken tooth, or more likely from the migration of grass awns or foxtails. Foxtails migrate forward and find the path of least resistance. The body tries to fight this foreign body by delivering white cells (neutrophils), which collect, die and form pus-filled abscesses. The abscesses also find the path of least resistance between tissue layers and thus can end up on the upper neck. Since this is the time of year when foxtails are dry and are easily picked up and ingested during feeding, my best educated guess is that you’re seeing foxtail-induced abscesses.


Trapping tree squirrels
Question: My cat often hunts and kills squirrels, then brings them home and eats them on the porch. I’d like to reduce the number of “prizes” my cat brings home for me, so what kind of license do I need to trap the tree squirrels, and what types of traps would you recommend? (Billy James)

Answer: A hunting license is required to take all species of squirrels, and for tree squirrels there are seasons, bag limits and geographical restrictions. Tree squirrels cannot be taken with traps during the open season (see below for exception), but traps can be used to take ground squirrels. According to retired Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Capt. Phil Nelms, you have slightly different options for dealing with problem tree squirrels depending on which species are causing problems:

Gray squirrels that are causing damage can only be taken under the provisions of a special permit issued by DFG. Please check with your local DFG office to apply for a permit.

California ground squirrels may be taken with traps in accordance with sections 475 – 465.5(g) in the Mammal Hunting regulations (CCR Title 14, sections 475 through 465.5(g)). There is no closed season or bag limit for ground squirrels. A hunting license is required except when taking them to protect your property, in which case no license or permit is required from DFG.

Red fox squirrels can only be taken with traps when they are found to be injuring growing crops or other property. Traps have to be used in accordance with California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 465.5(g). Please see the 2011 Mammal Regulations booklet. Check out section 465.5(g) under furbearing mammals regulations or online at http://www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/current/mammalregs.asp.

If trapped squirrels are not immediately killed, you must release them immediately in the area taken. The law does not allow live-trapped animals to be relocated from their immediate surroundings. If taken away from its known surroundings, the animal is more likely to suffer from lack of food and water. Humanely killing the animal is the only realistic option.

We do not have a product recommendation regarding types of traps to use. You should check with the agency that provides animal control services in your area or maybe try a large nursery/garden supply business.

Squirrels may not be taken with cats! Joking aside, you are not in much danger of being cited or prosecuted for the predatory habits of your cat as long as you are not training, controlling or otherwise encouraging it to kill the squirrels. See section 307 in the current Mammal Hunting Regulations (CCR Title 13, section 307) available online at http://dfg.ca.gov/regulations/.


Sturgeon possession limits
Question: I enjoy sturgeon fishing and regularly go down to the Bay for a two-day fishing trip this time of year. How many can I have in possession? Let’s say I go to San Pablo on a Friday, catch a legal-size sturgeon, tag it and then take it back to my truck to put in an ice chest. Can I then fish on Saturday and catch and tag another sturgeon? If so, upon returning to my truck I would then have two sturgeon in my possession. I believe there is a yearly limit of three, but what is the possession limit up to those three sturgeon? (Mike G., Rio Oso)

Answer: No more than one daily bag limit (one sturgeon) may be taken or possessed at any time, even if the animal is frozen or otherwise preserved (CCR Title 14, section 1.17).

Photo credit: A healthy mule deer fawn (Photo courtesy of UDWR)

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 Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.

Bloodsucking Leeches?

These "creepy leech-like" organisms are part of the aquatic food chain and are often found in lakes and ponds where they provide food for vertebrates such as fish, ducks, turtles and some birds. (Photo: Wilderness Unlimited property in Mendocino County.)

Question: My daughter and I love to swim and play in waters wherever we find them. While in French Gulch (Shasta County) last year, we decided to play around in Clear Creek. The creek was running pretty high, but when my daughter and I got out we had these black, worm-like things hanging off us. Our first thought was leeches, which got us out of the water quite quickly! Someone told me they were rock worms and wouldn’t hurt us. We haven’t returned there though because we’re still too scared they were leeches.

We also stopped at Eagle Lake (Lassen County) to go swimming and ended up with these tiny little round slime balls on us. When picking up these slimy things in question, they flattened out on our hands and started slithering like a leech across our hands. This was another trip where my daughter and I ran screaming out of the water to rinse off under the faucet! There were lots of people swimming in the lake who either didn’t seem to notice or else knew something we didn’t.

Clear Creek was a very cold creek, but Eagle Lake was very warm, so I could understand Eagle Lake possibly having leeches. Do these leeches suck human blood? Are they harmful to humans in any way? I love the outdoors and swimming, but too many encounters with creepy leech-like things are making me leery about the safety of it. (Kim B.)

Answers: Without pictures, it’s tough to say, but it sounds like you encountered two different invertebrates. According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Associate Fish Pathologist Garry Kelley, Ph.D., the organism at Clear Creek was likely a free-living caddisfly larvae (Genus Rhyacophila), commonly known as a rock worm. This type of caddisfly crawls around rock bottoms in search of food and is commonly eaten by trout. Caddisflies are not at all harmful to humans.

The organism at Eagle Lake might be a leech based on the “slithering” swimming motion you described. There are many types of leeches and most are fluid feeders. Leeches are either scavengers or are parasitic (i.e., they feed on other organisms). Some species of leeches suck blood from vertebrates (humans, waterfowl, fish, etc.) while others feed on insects, mollusks, oligochaetes or dead animal matter. Kelley suspects the organism described at Eagle Lake was non-parasitic in nature because bloodsucking was not indicated.


Can cowcod caught in Mexico be imported to U.S. waters?
Question: If we’re fishing in Mexican waters and catch a cowcod, can we legally bring it back into a California port as long as we have all of the proper licenses and the Declaration for Entry form properly filled out? I’d just like to know for sure as we fish Mexican waters frequently targeting rockfish and I’d like to avoid a citation. (Jeff M., San Diego)

Answer: No. Cowcod may not be imported or even possessed in California regardless of where caught (Fish and Game Code, section 2353(a)(2)). Broomtail groupers and canary, yelloweye and bronzespotted rockfishes are also illegal to be possessed or imported into California under this regulation and under California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 28.55(b)(1), even if they were taken legally in Mexico.


How many turkeys in possession?
Question: I’m going out of town on a three-day turkey hunt and need some clarification on the possession limit. If my buddy and I each get a turkey each day (total of six) and get stopped by a warden on the way home, will we be legal? I heard that you can’t have more than one bird with you at a time, but the regulation states possession limit is three birds per hunter for the season. I want to make sure I am legal. Otherwise I will have to travel back and forth after each successful day and it’s about a two-hour drive each way. Any information you could give me would be appreciated. (Brent M.)

Answer: The daily bag limit for turkeys during the spring season is one bearded turkey per day and you can take three per season. According to retired DFG Capt Phil Nelms, you may have three bearded turkeys in your possession as long as you only take one per day. You do not have to return home after taking a bird on any one day.


Fishing for sanddabs
Question: When fishing for sanddabs, how many hooks can be attached to the line on a single rod? (Len P.)

Answer: You may fish for sanddabs with as many hooks as you like on a single rod, unless rockfish, lingcod or salmon are on the vessel or in possession, in which case special restrictions apply (CCR Title 14, section 28.65).

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Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.

(Photo courtesy of Wilderness Unlimited)